OK; first things first. I wasn't a big fan of the first game. It was fun for a little while but then I got bored, real quick. I thought the sequel would be the same in all honesty but, as I was bored over the weekend, I downloaded the 'Case Zero' (a sort of 'mini game intro' to this game) demo from Live just to see if my suspcions were correct. I couldn't have been more wrong! I ended up purchasing the full product an hour or so after playing the demo! I then played it to death for about 15 hours minimum over the next couple of days (even after completing it, I kept returning to do the achievements - something I rarely do in any game - but when a game is this much fun...).
I then simply had to purchase the full game to continue fueling my zombie killing addiction; It came today and I have been playing it all afternoon and evening. I simply cannot remember the last time I had this much fun playing a game. It's one of those games where you don't mind dying and realising you haven't saved for two hours because - hey! what the hell! - let's just do it all again, 'cos this time I'll use different weapons/toys. You simply don't mind retreading the same path because you can modify what happens each time. Or decide to do a different sub-mission first.
And here's the important bit: so far (total of about 25 hours playing time and nowhere near the end of the game) IT NEVER GETS BORING! I thought, like the first one, I would get bored killing zombies - no matter how many ways they gave me to do it. As I said earlier: I couldn't be more wrong.
Kudos has to go to the developers as they have obviously spent an awful lot of time with the game engine and mechanics. You can pick up pretty much everything to pummel (or cut, or shoot or bludgen etc.) the zombies. And I do mean pretty much anything! Foam fingers, plates, records (homage to Shaun of the Dead I'm sure :), cash tills, golf clubs, baseball bats, newspapers, wrenches, bins, blocks of wood, construction hats, chairs, frying pans, wooden benches, crowd (zombie!) control metal fences, traffic cones, tyres... the list seems endless.
But here's the clever thing. If it was simply a case of changing the graphic (item) in your characters hand and hitting the attack button and watching the same old animation etc., then this game would be truly awful. But it's not; indeed it's the complete opposite. Everything you pick up behaves and 'feels' exactly how you would expect it to! e.g. the foam fingers are pathetic; they simply tickle the zombies a little bit and will take about 20 hits to kill it. Same with a newspaper; you feel as if you're really swatting flies off his face for him. The baseball bat however - knocks them for six - as does the heavy metal wrench etc. So you can start coming up with tactics by using different things at different times. Either as a way of surviving or simply to show off :) (or both.)
On top of the different and realistic animation for EVERY single thing you can pick up as a weapon there is an equally impressive sound effect to go with it. All adding to the feeling that you are 'truly' using different items each time. The metal baseball has the perfect sound as does the wooden one. Guns sound fantastic as does the twang of a bow and arrow. The bowling ball sounds exactly like a bowling ball as it kocks a ton of zombies down like skittles. The long sword clangs if it hits scenery as you swing it around. The chainsaw buzzs until it cuts out. Again, the list is endless. This of course is where the core of the fun lies: finding new items and trying out what happens when you use it against a poor hapless zombie :)
This is where this game truly excels. Everytime you go past a shop you simply have to dive in to check out what 'weapons' will be there for you. Fancy playing a bit of golf using zombie's heads as practice? No problem. When you aim (left trigger) and fire (right trigger) your character performs a perfect golf swing and the ball ricochets off several zombies heads taking them all down for good. Arrows from your bow stick satisfyingly in the part of the zombie you shot. Shotgun blasts kill numerous zombies at the same time, whilst their bodies flying back make their comrades behind fall to the floor as well (where they then stagger back up - if you let them!). The metal baseball bat also allows you to aim and upon 'firing' your character then throws a ball in the air and swings a perfect hit sending the ball, at lightning speed, into the zombies head (if that's where you aimed!).
How about blasting zombies with a fire extingisher, so they freeze, and then hitting them into pieces Terminator 2 style? No problem. Better yet - freeze a load of them and then hit moving zombies into them so you get extra PP (prestige points) - it's more fun! Or pick up a hand gun and simply move forward performing head shots cool as a cucumber and watch them go down Resident Evil style. Or pick up a fire axe and lop off limbs. Or a broadsword which can literally cut them in half down the middle. Or a sledgehammer which, as we now already expect of the excellent game engine, of course behaves exactly as you would expect. Big heavy devestating swings which take out several groaners at the smae time. Miss with a swing however and you're leaving yourself open for attack as your body lurches after the heavy metal head!
On top of this you can now combine parts together to make "combo weapons". e.g. find a work shop and add a box of nails to a wooden baseball bat (homemade mace!). Or, likewise, add a box of nails to a gas tank to make an IED (perform a heavy attack on a zombie and stick it to his back! You can then wait until he lurches into a group of fellow groaners and let loose one perfect pistol shot :). Stick a newspaper into a glass of whiskey and you know what you've got there! Or stick a chainsaw (which on its own includes a nice kind of leatherface dance heavy attack) onto a canoe paddle...
Just before typing this review I got to the bit where you get a motorbike. I was escorting some survivors to the safe house at the time and was trying to cut a path in front of them by mowing down the zombies on the bike. When I hit the brake to turn around and come back I noticed it the wheel spinning and smoke poured out. Hmm, I thought. I kept the brake pressed down and hit the gas button at the same time and sure enough it does a 360 wheel spin - with the back end of the bike taking out any zombie that makes the mistake of moving into that circle! They seem to have thought of pretty much everything; truly engrossing and enveloping you into their fantasy world.
And we are talking serous amounts of zombies here. At times you are knee deep in body parts and still they are swarming everywhere towards you. No slow down in the frame rate whatsoever. So far it seems the amount of zombies you slaughter is only matched by the amount of ways they give you to despatch them. Techinically very impressive.
I've now been playing the game for over 20 hours and stil having a riot. There are some downsides (the loading times are long and grate sometimes; sometimes you haven't saved for ages and find yourself wondering accidently into a 'plot battle' that you haven't got the weapons or health for which, of course, means dying and having to play again) but these flaws can be forgiven as they are outweighed (for me) by the fun factor. I have restarted this game probably about 8 times now. This, unusually, is a deliberate game design by the creators: the idea being that you can level up and play about and enjoy yourself and ignore some missions, if you so wish, knowing that you can restart the game retaining all the skills you have earned by leveling up before hand (including the money earned etc.) Normally, I would hate doing this in a game - but in DR2 it is very much suited to the style of the game.
As if all the above won't keep you occupied enough for goodness knows how many hours; they have included a fun multiplayer section as well (there is also a co-op where you can play the whole game, jump in and out anytime, with a mate over Live etc.). The multiplayer section is a fun idea where you can play with 3 other players taking part in a gameshow (which features in the main storyline) with zombies. Think ITV Gladiators mixed with Zombies (but no Jet alas!) and you're roughly in the right ball park. These are 3 (random from a collection) rounds including such things as 'dress up the zombies', "put on hats and hit a button to explode their heads" and "shoot the zombies in a shooting gallery" - the idea being in each round to outdo your components (often including ways to block your opponents from scoring points). The last round involves riding around on a motorbike (equipped - of course - with chainsaw blades each side) mowing down as many zombies as possible. The leader from the previous 3 rounds goes first with the remaining contestents having a time penalty based on their standing in the leaderboard (4th place can often go as much as 10 seconds after the leader for example!). It's all wrapped up with crass commentators which is superbly done and all in the same comedic style of the game. Depending on your performance in the game depends how much money you win - which you can then "cash in" to an existing save slot (without affecting the game otherwise) which you can then go back into single (or co-op) with and spend! Fantastic idea; nicely executed.
Of course, no game is everyone's cup of tea but I doubt there will be that many people who don't enjoy this game. Probably the best way to sum it up is to say if you loved and laughed at things such as Shaun of the Dead, and fancy a diverse video game version with similar humour and fun - buy this now. :)
Words cannot do it justice. You will get maximum value for money with this one. Read more ›